Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Big Difference in the Khizr Khan and Patricia Smith Speeches

I'm really disappointed in this Errol Louis piece where he draws a false equivalence between the Khan family and Patricia Smith. 

"On the first night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, I cringed when Patricia Smith, the grief-stricken mother of Sean Smith, an information officer killed during the terrorist attack that destroyed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, took the stage."

"Smith, standing before thousands of delegates — with millions more people watching on television — openly raged at Hillary Clinton. “For all of this loss, for all of this grief, for all of the cynicism the tragedy in Benghazi has wrought upon America, I blame Hillary Clinton,” Smith thundered from the podium. “I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son!”

"Where could the debate possibly go after that? The sad answer came the following night, when thousands of delegates chanted “Lock her up!” about Clinton as a smirking Gov. Chris Christie used his podium time to conduct a mock trial of Clinton for various “crimes.”

"It was not a great moment for democracy. The institutions that hold our society together — including the courts, the military, the media and the political parties — depend on a degree of civil, dispassionate discussion and decision-making."

So far so great. It was an awful matter for democracy. And 'Lock her up' was basically the theme of the convention. Now Trump and Roger Stone are suggesting this election is 'rigged.' Greg Sargent argues this is all part of an effort to delegitimize her Presidency before the fact.

But then Errol Louis can't leave this alone where he's spoken the truth. He's got to draw the false equivalence. Maybe he feels saying this about the GOP convention is too harsh without rapping the knuckles without the DNC as well.

"I mentally wrote off Smith’s tirade as an unfortunate but unimportant moment of marred messaging — but a similar feeling returned days later, when the Democratic National Convention staged a raw emotional appeal of its own from the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, a soldier killed in action in Iraq more than a decade ago."

“If it was up to Donald Trump, (Humayun) never would have been in America,” said the fallen hero’s father, Khzir Kahn. “Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy . . . Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America — you will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing. And no one.”

Another grieving parent, another conversation-stopping personal attack on the rival party’s candidate. We’d be better off without the highly produced moral grandstanding.

I disagree vehemently. The two speeches were not comparable

The VFW has repudiated Trump. It didn't repudiate Hillary's response to Pat Smith

All Mr. Khan said was that Trump hasn't read the Constitution. He doesn't even know the number of articles so there is some plausible basis to that claim. 

To accuse someone of not being fit for the office or not knowing the constitution is within normal bounds of debate. Calling them personally murderers in the death of your own child is not. And there was no Democrat yelling 'Lock him up' at the DNC.

The closest was Biden's inspired chant 'Not a clue!" Is 'Not a clue' and 'Lock her up' equivalent?

Now Louis seems to think the only way we can avoid 'Lock her up!' is not to allow any grieving parent to speak? Grieving parents have a right to speak and what they say is often very important. They are just like the rest of us-they have an opinion. 

What is problematic is not that they get a chance to speak but rather that the Trump campaign has breached our norms of legitimate discussion. It was not that Pat Smith criticizes Hillary have a problem with but her literally claiming she killed her son. 

Evidently, Louis doesn't see this distinction. 

So he gives Trump's response a pass. Presumably Trump has every right to attack their religion because they dared to speak out. Louis is also coming up with a totally contrary standard to the VFW which states that Gold Star parents have the right to speak out without being attacked. Louis' rejoinder is 'They have no right to speak at all.'


  1. Mike, clicking on Google News, this was the headline story:

    Wow... whoever thought to put Khan on stage at the Dem convention is a genius. Was it DWS?

    Notice that HRC didn't fall for Smith trap. Also you might like this:

  2. Yes. That's the big difference. I think Smith went a lot further than Khzir did. But Hillary didn't go there.

  3. Jennifer Rubin today:

    "Republicans who attributed all sort of assets to Trump (he’s a genius, can get expert help, is an international mogul, has kids as convincing surrogates, etc.) were kidding themselves all along. It’s getting harder to keep up the pretense that he has redeeming features or an adequate support system to make the prospect of a Trump presidency palatable. He doesn’t. It’s just him — a narcissist, an ignoramus, a bigot who lacks any measure of self-control. Just what you never want in a president of the United States."

  4. But you know 'Hillary used private email'

    Rubin doesn't say that but many GOPers justify their support this way

  5. Here's a classic line from Harding today:

    "The entire Democratic Party wants Black supremacy and Mexican imperialism."

  6. streiff, at RedState (who suffers mightily from HDS) actually says Obama has a point in calling out the GOP for it's support of Trump:

  7. RedState poops all over another Trump alternative: Darrel Castle and his Constitution Party:
    I'm glad to see him called out. They've also essentially written off the Libertarians. Looks like they have to do a write in (which invalidates the ballot in some states) or (gasp) vote for HRC! lol.

  8. Great line from Steve Berman, TheResurgent's least talented writer:

    Electing Trump president is like hiring Matt Damon to do Jason Bourne’s actual job, where the guns and the bad guys are real.

  9. Trump flip flops on crying babies: has one ejected from his rally: